Saturday 28 January 2012

Recipe Hits at the BPP Home!

I don't know about you...but I'm a bit of a freak about recipes.
I own dozens and dozens of cookbooks and have a lot of recipes saved to my "favorites" on the computer.
And then...along came Pinterest. Like so many others...I, in vain, tried to stay away from "what everybody else was doing." (Now I'm kinda wondering what my reason behind that was?)
I am now at the point where I can't seem to go to sleep at night without a quick scan of the pins of those I follow. Therapy, people?
Anyhow, if you follow me, you may have noticed I tend to repin a lot of
(Especially lots of chocolate recipes!)

One of my goals for 2012 is to introduce some new meals to our family. We've been stuck in a little bit of a rut this last year, and I thought some new flavours would do us all good. So I've been referring back to those pins and actually making the recipes instead of just drooling over the pictures.
If you've been doing this as well, you have probably experienced the same thing as me...sometimes the picture looks a whole lot better than the recipe tastes.
And then other times...the opposite!
The recipe was totally and completely drool worthy, just like the picture.

So without further are some of my favorites!!!

Homemade Ricotta.
I can't even tell you how excited I was when I saw this recipe (Go Jane!). And even more excited that it did, in fact, work. I celebrated the success (and it's very easy, by the way) by making lasagna with homemade pasta and of course the ricotta. Yum.
I don't know what ricotta costs where you live, but where I live, it's about $7 - $8 per 500 ml. container.
I figured out I can make the same amount for about $3 and in about the same time it would take me to pack up my two kids, drive to the store and buy some. Gotta love that!

Oh. My. Goodness.
There are no words for this recipe for chicken gyros. Totally amazing.
If you like Greek food, you will be in tastebud heaven. Make your own pitas and it's even better.
Love, love, LOVE!!!!!!

Lemon Garlic pasta with pine nuts.
I made my own pasta, so that took a bit more time, but otherwise this is a quick, simple and easy dish to put together and delivers a lot of flavor. I especially liked the added crunch from the pine nuts.

I don't know if these really even needs an explanation! How could you possibly go wrong with nutella or fudge? Put the two together's amazing. I made a batch for Christmas and conveniently forgot to put out all of them. Then I went on a month long no-sugar diet right after New Years, so they are still sitting in the fridge waiting for me. Lovely nuggets of bliss.

I've been on a Greek kick this past week, and these Greek nachos fit the bill!!!
Yummy, yummy, yummy is all I have to say. My kids loved them too!

Low Carb Cauliflower Leek Soup.
Okay, to be fair, I didn't repin this one. My sister-in-law made it, posted the recipe link on Facebook, I pinned it and then made it. In fact, I'm making it again's simmering away while I write. Do yourself a favor and try's deelish!!!

Oatmeal pancakes.
Sunday night is pancake night at our house cause this momma wants a break from any serious cooking, and I knew I had to try this recipe out.
My pancakes didn't turn out as fluffy as these, but the flavour was all there. Yum, yum!

Crusty Italian Bread.
I loved how easy this was! There is nothing like a fresh loaf of bread with dinner...or at any time for that matter!

Rolo cookies.
These are also super easy and fun to make, not to mention slightly addictive to eat!

Okay, this one I am still a little bit confused about.
The concept is chilling coconut milk and then whipping the heavy cream that rises to the top. I tried it and found that it didn't "whip" like I expected it to and it didn't taste like I thought it would. So in that regard, I wasn't totally thrilled with it (although maybe it wasn't supposed to be really, really thick after whipping...I don't know.). However, I still list it here as a favorite because of what I used it for! After adding a bit of sugar and vanilla, I used it to top off a pina colada pancake concoction...and wow! THAT had some serious yum factor!! I'm hoping to share that whole recipe with you soon!

Fig & Prosciutto Pizza.
Need I say more? It's delicious!

And last, but definitely not least, the Ferrero Roche Nutella cupcake.
Seriously heavenly. I made these for a little pity party I threw for myself for my bday and wow, were they awesome!!

I hope you were able to find some eye candy here that you can soon create in your kitchen...and hey!
When you do, let me know your thoughts! I love hearing from you all!

Till next time!

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Gettin' My Act Together 2012

I mentioned it in my last plans to get organized in 2012.

I had to change that plan to "Get My Act Together 2012" instead...since there is a lot more I want to see happen and change this year than only organization.

Here's a tidbit of how life has gone down in the BPP House over the past couple years.
2010 was pretty much the worst year of our lives, definitely our married life, but possibly our single lives as well. If something could go wrong that year, it did. It was a bad, bad year.
Long story short, nothing but the grace of God pulled us through in tact.
Hubby's work transferred him to our new hometown in December of 2010, and I stayed back in our old hometown with our 2 yr. old and 6 month old and tried not to go crazy. Finally, by the end of Feb. 2011, all the relocation issues, home selling issues, renovation issues and such were OVER and we were all able to move down here and be together as a family again. It was fantastic.
In short, 2011 was spent trying to simply recover.
As a result of that, very, very little was accomplished in the area of making this home "ours".
We optimistically thought we would be able to achieve more than we did...but we didn't.

Now is 2012 and both hubby and I are feeling mostly normal again (whatever that is) and are anxious to tackle things around here.
I've spent the last year analyzing how we use our home and what we could do to make it work.

Look between your fingers if you need to, but I am about to show you our home's dirty laundry.
It ain't purdy.

First on the agenda is to CLEAN OUT THE CLOSETS!!!
We had to throw things into closets very quickly after moving in, due to two curious babies, and lots of company.
I never got around to fixing it cause...well, I don't like organizing and it's easier to close the door.

The bottom half of the closet...we like coffee, can you tell?
I don't have much cupboard space in my kitchen so I used whatever little nook and cranny I could find to throw extra "stuff" into.

The front closet.
 It's where we hang coats we never wear.
And cleaning supplies.
And water.
And extra pantry supplies.
I'm pretty sure my mom is hyperventilating now, if she's gotten this far in the post without fainting.

I'm happy to say though...I picked up some super cute wallpaper at a crazy low price ($1.50/roll) and I have some pretty sweet plans to pretty up these closets in the very, very near future! Keep your eyes open for that!
Sure hoping I didn't just shoot myself in the foot by typing that out...

Aaaaaannndd the kitchen.
Oh the kitchen. So many issues here.
First off, I have to empty that armoire out so that I can use it in my craft room. More on that later.
In order to create more storage and space in general, we plan to build bench seating along the window, then purchase a round table. I think it'll cozy up the kitchen significantly and oh...I can hardly wait for that extra storage. Before we (as in "he" sense in trying to fool you) can tackle that, however, we need to replace the flooring, so I'm keeping my eyes open for a nice, neutral tile.

Here is our living room.
Exciting, isn't it? This is something that has bothered me since the day we moved in...the furniture just blends in with the walls...the floors...the trim, etc. Blaaaahhhhh.
I'm SO EXCITED to say that we're painting those walls...finally!
I've picked out a gorgeous light grey (you can see the sample swatches by the window) that we are both crazy about it, and in fact, I've already started painting the short walls.
I can't wait to show it to you once it's all finished!
We're also planning to purchase new furniture for in here at some point this year.
I kid you not...that furniture is the most uncomfortable furniture you could find to sit on, short of a wooden pew. I bought it when I was single and was all about the look and nothing else.
I wish I could say I'm kidding, but I'm not!...the day I bought the couch/love seat, I was actually intending to purchase something espresso in color and very modern in style. I found what I wanted and was heading up to the front desk to tell the salesperson what I wanted, when I passed this set. I turned around and said, "Ohhh!! I like that one too! How much is it? Okay, I'll take it."
I never even bothered to sit on it.
Yup. Hubs has never let me live it down.

Boring, bland oak are goin' down!!!
We're planning to replace all the trim with some nice thick shaker style, glossy white trim as well as replace the doors. Or paint them white, depending on the budget. I've got board & batten in mind for this hallway too, but I have this uncomfortable, nagging feeling that I might have to do a lot of out of this world cooking and baking for hubby in order to convince him.
The days are numbered for that loverly oak and burgundy banister as well...
(How 'bout that nice 80's hallway light too?!)

Here's our teeny, tiny en suite.
We plan to put in new flooring - the bathroom is so tiny that I get to do a Sarah Richardson style "splurge" and install marble tile. I can hardly wait!! We'll paint the vanity a semi-gloss black and install a new counter top/sink and matching marble tile back splash. 

And last, but definitely not room of shame. The future office/craft space.
Some of you may have seen this picture before. It really is a scary space and every time hubby or I go in here to attempt to clean it up, we stand and stare for a while, then sigh and walk out, firmly closing the door behind us.
Well, this year it IS going to happen. It IS.
Hubs has his man-cave with the black furniture and beloved flat screen TV, and now this momma needs her mom-cave. I already shared with you some of my inspiration pictures in a previous post, and I can barely wait to get going on this mess. The armoire from the kitchen will be moving down here to house my rather ridiculous, but impossible to part with, fabric collection. I. Can't. Wait.

Well, congratulations to any of you who got this far down the post!
You really are dedicated readers if you haven't run away screaming by now!

There are a lot more personal and family goals we have for 2012, but I'll save that for another day.
For now, let's just think of pretty decorating and hope for great things in the reno dept. over here this year!!


Wednesday 18 January 2012

The Love of White, White, White!

Hello all!
Are you all still there??
I've been busy trying to figure out how to add more hours to my day...maybe you have the secret.
Please do share!

Alright, I kid...I haven't been trying to figure anything like that out.
I've been trying to get ORGANIZED.
I'm also discovering I have some sort of homemaking ADD.
Currently, I have two walls test painted on our main floor, one closet half organized, one armoire slightly emptied, a wreath 1/4 finished, and tea stained coffee filters laying around.
It's all part of my Ginormous 2012 Get Organized Plan.
Except maybe the wreath and coffee filters...that was merely a momentary creative escape.

Part of my Plan...and I am hoping to share it all with you to paint the trim in our house.

This is about the best picture I could find of the goldeny oak trim above the sink in the kitchen.
You can't see it here, but the sill was stained and rough and icky it blended right in with the golden cabinets on either side. I know a lot of people love oak, so hopefully you won't be offended by me saying it's just. not. my. thing. And in our house...golden oak is EVERYWHERE. Floors, doors, trim, cabinets...all tied together nicely with a very blah, boring shade of beige wall paint.

The weather has been playing tricks on us in Alberta this winter so....

...all the springy feeling sunshine (I knew it was too good to be true!) simply forced me to whip out my paint brush. I painted....and painted...

...and painted some more....

Finally...a coat of primer and three coats of semi-gloss white later...I had a beautiful, shiny white window.

I'm so in love.

I almost love doing dishes again!
Oh, the refreshing power of white!!!!

Oh...and as for the weather?
It turned cold and snowy right after I finished my little painting project.
Definitely winter again - not spring - so I dashed outside to bring a few sprigs of spruce back in and "winter-ize" the sill. I like it.

Just the look I'm aiming for in the rest of the house.
Hi ho, hi to organize I go!

What have you been up to after "Christmas" was put away??

Monday 9 January 2012

Dreaming Up My Own Space

Happy New Year, Friends!

Did you all have a happy time celebrating Christmas and New Years?!

I apologize for being absent for so long, but I was feeling a bit burned out after all the crazy crafting before Christmas, then celebrating three different family Christmases.
This year was my first time "doing" Christmas for my little family (sans hubby, who had to work over the weekend) and my extended family. Quite the adventure, let me tell you. I have a bit of work to do when it comes to my hosting/cooking skills! My sister in law has been trying to convince me to share with you all my flop of a Christmas dinner, but I think I'm a little too embarrassed! Just picture...a not totally thawed, prehistoric sized bird that wouldn't fit into my roaster and refused to cook all the way through, a smoking oven (no yummy roasting turkey smells here, friends), a broken dish in the dairy-free veggie dish, a very diaper rashed lil boy running around sans diaper and leaving several puddles behind, starving, hovering teenagers, a less-than-delicious punch made from the rhubarb syrup I froze last summer, and a dinner table that didn't look anything like the one I took photos of. It makes for a good laugh now, but I felt like crying in the moment!
Oh well...better luck next year!

Now, after a few days of resting up (and cleaning up!), I have started making a mental list of the home improvements we (mostly I) want to see happen in 2012! It's always fun to dream, right?!

The BIGGEST goal on the list for this year is organizing and decorating my office/crafting room.
I can hardly wait! Currently, I refer to this room as my Room of Shame...I think someone could consider calling the Hoarders production team if they ever stuck their head in's a little terrifying. And, as I'm sure most of you can understand, when you're the creative type, you need a space where you can create! Right now 95% of my creating happens in a little 2.5 foot counter space between the stove and microwave in the kitchen. Not cool.
So the fact that there is a room downstairs waiting for me, but has been basically unusable for nearly a year, has driven me a wee bit around the bend.
Hubs has given me free reign over picking the decorating style in there, which I'm terribly excited about!
I always make sure he can live with any design decisions I make around the house, and even though he's pretty easy going, it does mean that things are not overly "girly" or too feminine.

Now being completely free to chose whatever I want has me a bit stumped!
What is "my" style now?
There are SO MANY styles I love!
I know I want something that is inspiring, peaceful, creative and cozy.
Naturally, I turned to Pinterest and for inspiration!

As you will see...styles that inspire me are kind of all over the place...

I LOVE this color scheme. No surprise there.
The curvy chairs are perfection...need to find me one of those.

Loving the calming color scheme with the pops of black.
Mmm hmmm.

This is the same office as in the first picture, but I'm noticing more accents of hot pink. I like it and I didn't think I'd ever like hot pink again after 1988!
(I'm sure there must be a more up-to-date word for that color now, but I don't know what it is. Anyone?)

Okay, personally, I am not a fan of this wallpaper...but I do really like the desk, chair and mirror.
So chic!

Swing over to another decorating corner and you have French that too.
So peaceful and relaxing.

I know this is a bedroom...but I just adore the shabby chicness and romantic feel of the room. So feminine!!

Can we get any different here? Wow...see what I mean?! I am all over the place.
I DROOL over this office. It makes me want to get my creative butt into shape. Okay, that sounded weird.
It just feels orderly and yet inspiring!

I'm totally nuts about this desk. L.O.V.E. it.
And the black and white chair.
And the charcoal wall color.

Then again...check out Emily's home office from Jones Design Company.
I think she and I are design kindred spirits. There's not much (if anything) in her house, I wouldn't do in my own if I could. Love her style.
Those desks couldn't be any more different from the previous one I was ooohing and aaahing over, but I sure love them!

I could do without the zebra ottoman, but other than that, I love the crisp look of the modern white table, the traditional gold mirror, funky lamps and black wall. So crisp! you can see...I have my work cut out for me just trying to figure out what exactly I want in that room.

What would you choose?
Did you see anything that inspired you?!
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